So Finally, the “Empowered Woman of the Week” Empowerment blogs are back since Covid and my writing break. I am so excited to be starting this again with incredible women, and I thought there was no better woman to kick off the New Year and begin than with Dr. Magdalena Stevens!
I met Magdalena in 2009 in quite an unconventional way through a mutual friend. I never imagined how important this woman would be and how great of a friend and supporter she would be in my life. Magdalena is not only my Dr. but knows all of my past health issues, knows my life, my ex’s, my anxieties, literally everything. She knows more of my personal information than some of my very best friends. There is nothing I’ve kept off-limits from her, and she’s always been a caring, kind, supportive friend and healthcare provider. She is now in Urgent Care, so I see her less, but nevertheless, I still try to see her in there when I have an issue or need blood tests checking my under active thyroid or blood sugar. Haha. Through the years, she has been there for me in so many ways, with health, giving me dating or career advice, spiritual advice, the whole nine. I even called her once while she was working in urgent care when I was in Poland because I was in a bad situation (or so I thought). Ha, and she stepped away to translate for me—what a friend!
Magdalena is one of the most intelligent, most driven women I’ve ever met. I met her when she was in med school years ago and always admired her work ethic. Dr. Stevens is beautiful, bright, kind, and cares for people, and wants the best for them. She is a mother of a beautiful and brilliant autistic daughter and has just finished a thrilling and entertaining book with her husband called “Lost in Beirut.” She is truly a woman of many talents. So before I blab her life story for her, here she is!
1.Tell me your full name, age, and where you’re from.
Magdalena Stevens, 41, originally from Poland
2. Tell me a little about your upbringing? What were you like as a young girl and
I grew up in a small town located at the foot of the Bieszczady Mountains in Poland. My dad is an architect and a very artistic guy with a huge love of nature, so my childhood was full of art, hiking, mushroom picking in the forest, skiing, sailing, horseback riding, etc. I
was also very close to my grandpa, an architect, and had an incredible
love for books. His house was filled with book cabinets stacked with rare editions of classics. He would often take me to the countryside and teach me about nature, history, music, and drawing. He’d sing and read to me for hours. I rarely would watch TV.
My mom left for the US when I was just 6, so my dad and grandpa were very influential people in my upbringing. I was an honor student with many interests, from art and poetry to participating in regional biology and science competitions. I kept myself busy. I was (
and still am) quite introverted but was blessed to attract some fantastic friends on my journey who were accepting of my weirdness, haha.
“So here I am. A board-certified physician and a partner in one of the largest medical groups in California.”
3. What did you want to be when you grew up initially? Did you ever think you would be where you are today? What made you want to become what you are today?
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a vet. I was obsessed with animals. I changed my mind after seeing a vet assisting my aunt’s cow during birth lol. Then, I was stuck between architecture/fine arts and medicine for years. I felt quite torn trying to decide what to do in my life. I even ended up in a prestigious Illinois Institute of Technology architecture program before ultimately deciding to become a doctor. When I was at IIT, it just did not feel right. Back then, working as a bartender on the weekends to support myself, I ran into one of my friends in the nightclub I was working at. He is now an orthopedic surgeon. I remember him saying, “Architecture? What a waste! You’d
be such a great doc! What are you doing with your life?” After that night, I called my grandpa ( the architect), and he told me to follow my
heart. Within a week, I transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago and registered to later graduate with B.A in Art History, while getting all my pre-med prerequisite courses on the side in a local community college. I was not a typical medical school applicant, but these crazy life experiences made me stand out in the application process. So here I am. A board-certified physician and a partner in one of the largest medical groups in California. I have been a doctor for almost ten years now.
4. When did you move to Los Angeles, and how come?
I moved for good in 2013 after my internship in Chicago. I moved because of my husband who is from here and wants to live in beautiful California.
“It was unexpected, but I embraced it. Modeling teaches you how to grow a thick skin, and I am sure you’d agree.”
5. How did you get started doing what you’re doing, and how did you become successful? What does success mean to you?
My journey took quite a few unexpected turns. I came to the US when I was 18, and within a couple of months, by a miracle of a chance, I was discovered by Elite Models agency in Chicago. This lead me to several years of working as a fashion model. I lived in NYC, Paris and then LA. I walked on the runway for D&G, Alberta Ferretti, Paco Rabanne,
Balmain, to name a few and appeared in numerous magazines and ads. It was unexpected, but I embraced it. Modeling teaches you how to grow a thick skin, and I am sure you’d agree. It’s not all glamour like people see it from the outside. There’s a lot of shadiness in this business. You have to learn how to navigate and sift through all
the bulsh*t. But I loved the artistic aspect of modeling and met so many interesting people who, to this day, are my closest friends.
I don’t define success as some point reached on our journey. I think success is more like climbing multiple mountains, a series of little goals that keep growing and changing with you. If I perceived success as a single goal, I’d never achieved 99% of the things I
did. Resting on laurels is the opposite of success to me. You have to keep becoming a better version of yourself and never stop growing.
6. Tell me about your business and the projects you’re currently working on?
In 2019 my husband and I started writing our first book. It’s a true story about my husband’s and his best friend’s time in Beirut, Lebanon. They went there in 2006 to organize 50 cent concert. What seemed like a fun adventure turned into horror as the country tipped into war overnight, and they got stuck in Lebanon fighting for their lives.
It’s a spiritual journey, a love story, and a story of survival. Within a few months of us starting to write, covid happened, so it was very challenging to continue. I was working as a doctor on the front lines, but we kept at it, at times writing even in the car. We started a publishing company last year and did everything independently instead of signing a deal with a publishing house. With this book, we wanted to keep full rights, including movie rights. It’s been such a magical and cathartic journey, and I loved the process of being in charge of copyright, hiring editors, designers and having complete artistic freedom and control of our project. We got lucky with some of the best editors, including Heather Sangster, who is an exclusive editor for Margaret Atwood, and Britt Collins, who is an international bestselling author and award-winning editor as well. I felt so honored when
they agreed to work with us. We also had the pleasure of collaborating with an incredible cover designer, Xavier Comas from Coverkitchen, who captured so eloquently the juxtaposition of this unbelievable story. Lost in Beirut just published 12/19/21, and we are super excited to see where this journey takes us.
“I don’t define success as some point reached on our journey. I think success is more like climbing multiple mountains, a series of little goals that keep growing and changing with you.”
7. What is your most outstanding achievement thus far, and what or who inspires you?
My daughter. At almost two years of age, she was diagnosed with autism, and we spent years and thousands of hours in various therapies. Now, you almost can’t even tell she is neurodiverse. She is in a regular 2nd grade now and doing fantastic. Her view of the
world and sparkly personality give meaning to my life. She inspires me every day to do everything with love. She’s truly a magical being, and I’m proud to be her mom.
“So embrace it, believe in yourself, and know you’re capable beyond measure.”
8. For people who want to build or grow their business or brand, what advice would you
Start and keep going. Don’t give up. There will be times when it will be challenging, but those times are there to show you how much you want it.
9. What career and life advice would you give young girls who look up to you?
It’s ok to make mistakes and to search for yourself. Everything you do shapes you. Even ending up on the wrong path is a part of your journey. So embrace it, believe in yourself, and know you’re capable beyond measure. Refuse to take “no” for an answer because there’s always “a way.” Don’t allow toxicity into your life. If someone or something makes you feel bad, cut it out. You don’t need to carry the weight of negativity. It’s counter productive and will slow
“Life is more of a series of small goals that ultimately make you feel fulfilled.”
10. What are you most looking forward to in the future?
Currently, looking forward to where our book Lost in Beirut will take us. I also hope to travel more with my family soon. I try not to look too much into the future. I love living in the now and enjoying every day as it comes. I think part of me has an issue with commitments, so planning too much into the future drives me nuts, lol.
11. What is your ultimate life goal?
I don’t aspire to someone definite thing. I have been blessed in my life with so much. I don’t see one ultimate goal. Life is more of a series of small goals that ultimately make you feel fulfilled.
12. What are things people assume about you that aren’t true?
That I’m mean based on my looks, or the shock on their faces when I say I’m a doctor. At work, at least once a day, I will
walk into the room, introduce myself as a doctor, only to be asked by the patient, “when is the doctor coming?” It always makes me half laugh! Our society is still full of stereotypes.
“I will always advocate for education. Knowledge is power.”
13. What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m very introverted, but because I’m talkative, I fool people into thinking the opposite, haha. I love being alone and social situations truly drain me.
14. Why do you think women’s empowerment is so important?
Because we should all support one another. I despise cattiness, competition, and gossip. Collective empowerment is how we get our voices heard. I also believe the future is made with female energy.
15. What would you say your best qualities are?
I’m very persistent.
16. How can women support each other more?
Get rid of your internal misogyny and embrace your feminine energy. We are powerful. Once we believe in ourselves, we can then transfer this light to others.
17. How can women feel more confident?
I will always advocate for education. Knowledge is power. There’s nothing more repulsive than a beauty without brains. Relying on looks is short-lived, but no one can take away from you what you learn.
18. How do you overcome insecurities? How can others overcome their insecurities?
Focus on your best qualities and dig deeper into these. Self-care, especially with mental health, is also so important. When you feel loved by yourself the way you are, no matter what anyone else says, you know you’re a worthy human being. It’s important not to let
others cloud your judgment. I think insecurities, almost always, come from other people casting a shadow on you. Get rid of those and seek light and then be light.
“The most empowering experience for me was motherhood because, as a mother of a daughter, I tried to answer these exact questions for her.”
19. What are the things in life you value the most?
Love, family, health, knowledge.
20. What does it mean to you to be an “empowered woman”? How did you become empowered?
Empowerment means self-awareness. You know and believe in yourself fully. This comes from a deep knowledge of yourself and self-love. The most empowering experience for me was motherhood because, as a mother of a daughter, I tried to answer these exact questions for her.
Thank you so much Madalena for this interview! You always have inspired me in so many ways.
To check out Magdalena’s book she discussed, (which is amazing, I’m almost done with it) visit the link below. It’s a fantastic read, exciting, hard to put down and an easy read at that. I really do recommend this book. It’s called “Lost in Beirut” and available on Amazon, Kindel, and Apple Books.